Little Women is the classic coming-of-age tale of four sisters on their journey to adulthood. Though today it’s considered a classic, Little Women almost wasn’t written: Alcott wanted to publish a collection of short stories instead, but her publisher and her father pressed her to write a book that would appeal to a wide audience of young girls.
The first volume was written quickly and published in 1868; it was a huge success, and Alcott composed volume 2 just as quickly and published it in 1869. By her own account she didn’t enjoy writing them, and both she and her publisher agreed the first few chapters were dull—it almost goes without saying they were pleasantly shocked at the positive reception the volumes received.
By 1927 it had been acknowledged as one of the most widely-read novels of the era, and remains widely read today.